There was a time when no one gave a second thought to whether their dogs nutritional needs were being met. At that time, any old dog food would do. Now however, after study and research, we have learned that a quality food, wet or dry will impact our dogs health. A quality dog food has minimal fillers, added vitamins and minerals, and is appropriate for the dogs life stage. Dogs do not naturally produce all the nutrients they require so they depend on us to feed then quality, nutrient rich dog food.
There has been a trend lately to feed dogs bones and raw food, or “BARF” as it is known. The idea is to feed dogs what they ate in the wild, before they were domesticated. The truth is, it is hazardous to your dog due to toxins, food borne bacteria, intestinal obstruction and the possibility of intestinal perforation. If you stop to think about it, you will realize dogs did not live as long or as well in the wild as they do now.
In this article, I will discuss just a few of the important nutrients required for a healthy dog. One nutritional element you may not be familiar with is Iodine. Iodine is crucial for proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Just as in humans, the thyroid plays a major role in regulating metabolism and growth. Symptoms of hypothyroidism, which is not enough thyroid hormone, include poor growth, weight gain and hair loss, as well as weakness and irritability.
Zinc is a mineral that works with red blood cells to move carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Zinc also promotes normal growth and wound healing. Zinc toxicity is rarely a problem, but certain dog breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes have an inability to absorb zinc. The most common problem associated with zinc deficiency is a skin condition known as “zinc responsive dermatosis”. Symptoms include hair loss and dry, crusty skin around the head, face and legs and a dry, dull hair coat. Zinc can be supplemented by providing a good, quality pet vitamin. A high grade, all natural pet vitamin contains ingredients that aid in the absorption of zinc.
Two more well known nutritional supplements are Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These nutrients are especially beneficial for older dogs and large breed dogs because they treat osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and Chondroitin ease joint pain in the hips and many other joints. They are also used to aid healing after spinal or joint surgery. The use of these two supplements have eased pain for some dogs enough to allow them to be more active later into their senior years. Glucosamine works by providing the necessary elements for joints to produce new cartilage. Chondroitin fight the enzymes that break down cartilage. Pets can stay on Glucosamine and Chondroitin indefinitely.
These are just a few of the many nutrients necessary for your dogs health. Thanks to research and study by veterinarians and other scientists, we are now able to extend the lifespan of our beloved dogs for as long as possible, by providing the best nutrition available.